Topic | Need a little handwriting advice

This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  missceegee 4 years, 8 months ago.

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  • eawerner

    A little background – Dd6.5 did the prek HWT book when she was 3 years old (because she wanted to learn, it wasn’t really school at that point). Then for Kindergarten we did the K book so she finally learned all the lower case letters when she was 5 or 5.5 years old.  This year we are doing a purchased copywork book in the HWT font with line by line models, about 5-10 min per day 4x per week. 

    First problem – She will write the lower case letters for her copywork but all other writing she does, which is mostly non-school related, is in all capitals.  She is able to write in lowercase without a model, minus a few occasional reversals, but it is WAY slower for her so maybe more frustrating? 

    Second problem – There is no top line in the HWT system so she is either asking me ‘where do I start?’ for capitals and the lower case letters with ascenders (b,d,f,h,l…)  or she just guesses and makes a HUGE line down.  Even she reaslizes it looks silly and will sometimes erase half the line!

    Third problem – She pushes down on her pencil sooooo hard.  I think it makes her hand get tired faster and seems to keep her from having a smoother flow to her lines and curves.  Plus she has a hard time erasing such dark lines when she makes a mistake. 

    She is my first child and I’m not sure what to do differently to help her with this.  Copywork is the only subject she really dislikes and I would like that to change a bit, along with her handwriting improving.  Would it be a big deal to switch fonts for her copywork models so that they would come with a top line?  (I have to buy a new book for this year anyway.)  Would it help or hurt to just start cursive?  Would something like italics be a better fit?  Is it possible she just isn’t comfortable with the individual letters yet and I need to go back and practice  a a a a a a, b b b b b b, … ect.?  How much of this is normal 6 year old stuff that she will grow out of in a year or two?

    ozark mama

    Your dd sounds a bit like mine. I thought my dd would grow out of it but at age 8 things were worse than they were at age 6. Another homeschool mom directed me to the writing 8 exercise and I am so thankful she did! Take a look at this and see if it seems to fit your daughter.

    My daughter has been doing the writing 8 exercise for a few months now and it has really made a difference! Here is a link that tells you how to do it. Just remember to make the 8 BIG. I use paper off of a roll for an easel and tape it to the table. We use it for a week or so then replace.

    As for changing fonts, I am not sure that will help. The fact that your daughter presses hard with her pencil suggests that there are other issues at play.


    For pencil pressure, buy a 0.9 mm mechanical pencil. It’s thick enough to withstand a bit of pressure, but not much. Work on being able to slide it from her grip in the midst of writing. That will help her to learn how hard to grip. 

    I think you could change paper easily enough if you want to stick with printing. I teach mine cursive first, but dd5 taught herself to print, mainly capitals formed wrong beforehand. I’ve just told her that we will be limiting her writing to times when I can sit with her for the time being. I expect it to take us a few months to master cursive and after that, all writing will be in cursive. Later, if she wants to do printing on her own time, she will have to use a HWT or other workbook to learn to form letters correctly. 

    Keep copywork short, esp. for her age. A few words or maybe one sentence would be sufficient. 

    HTH – 


    PS – If you’re interested in cursive, my favorite resources are Pencil Pete, Cursive First and Fizz Brain’s Cursive ipad app.


    Well a mechanical pencil is easy enough to try.  She’ll probably think it’s more grown up anyway. 😉


    So do you not let your dd5 write out little stories, caption her drawings, etc. unless you are there to guide her writing?  I can’t imagine telling dd not to write anything without me, but perhaps she just comes to you for help whenever she wants to write something?


    No, dd5 wants to write all the time, but she needs the instruction. She isn’t thrilled, but I have to replace one habit with another. I’ve told her it’s only temporary and that as soon as she learns to form all of her letters correctly, she can write all she wants. It’s a good motivator. I also find 2 short sessions a day to be much more effective that one. 

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